Sciatica pain often plagues adults that spend long hours sitting at a desk for work. The distinctive shooting pain through the back and legs not only hurts, it can be distracting and affect one’s quality of life. As with other common injuries, physical therapy for sciatica can help patients find relief from chronic pain.
Here’s what you need to know.
Request an appointment at Twin Boro Physical Therapy to find out how physical therapy can help you find relief and manage your sciatica pain.
How Common is Sciatica?
Your body is designed to move. Sedentary jobs, like sitting at a desk or computer all day, defy your body’s natural need for movement. For people that engage in frequent, long periods of immobility, sciatica is very common.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that on average, 95% of an office worker’s day is spent sitting in front of a computer. Consequently, adverse health effects associated with prolonged sitting are more prevalent in those who sit for their job. Unfortunately, most don’t realize the harmful effects of sitting too much until the pain becomes severe.
Risk Factors for Sciatica
Many patients feel confused or frustrated when dealing with sciatica pain because they don’t know how it happened. There is no injury or incident at the source of the pain.
Sciatica can arise from physical stresses that typically don’t result in pain if performed at the person’s current functional level. Sciatica usually takes weeks or months to develop. The most common risk factor for sciatica involves extended sessions of sitting, with inadequate breaks. This can constrict blood flow decreasing circulation, cause inflammation, and nerve irritation. Additionally, sitting for too long can also make the piriformis muscle overly tight, resulting in compression on the sciatic nerve underlying the muscle.
So, how do we combat this pain?
First, make sure to limit the stress of sitting for too long.
- Take frequent micro-breaks
- Stand up while on a conference call
- Schedule walking meetings
- Set up proper ergonomics for your workstation
Secondly, perform regular corrective physical therapy exercises. Effective techniques will reduce inflammation, restore joint function, improve motion, and help the return of full function.
Physical Therapy for Sciatica
The amount and type of physical therapy treatment for sciatica depends upon the severity of the condition and the underlying cause of the nerve damage. Each program is unique. In many cases, physical therapy for sciatica begins conservatively to avoid aggravating the condition.
Therapists place emphasis on decreasing inflammation and stress on the affected area. Once the initial inflammation has been reduced, physical therapy treatment may include a series of postural, stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent reoccurrence of the injury.
Common physical therapy interventions for sciatica include:
- Manual therapeutic techniques (soft tissue mobilization)
- Therapeutic exercises (stretching, strengthening)
- Neuromuscular re-education (restore stability)
- Modalities including electrical stimulation to decrease pain.
- Home programs developed to decrease the risk of a reoccurrence.
When followed diligently, physical therapy for sciatica issues can do wonders for improving quality of life.
At each of our 23 New Jersey physical therapy clinics, we utilize the One2Four approach to help patients manage their symptoms. Whether your sciatica pain is from sitting too long, degenerative disc disease or trauma, a Twin Boro physical therapist can develop a program specifically to meet your needs, help you heal faster and reduce the chance of future injury.
Call1-888-416-8001 to schedule your no-obligation appointment today.
Twin Boro Physical Therapy: Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey
Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for close to 40 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques are incorporated into effective evidence-based practice. We deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.
It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of mycentraljersey.com.